Because I had never seen this play, I decided to buy the script and read it in advance. Doing so left me interested and curious: how could this thing be staged to make any sense?
Martha Henry managed it with ease. a parade of messengers announced the years, the events and other items needed to enable the audience to follow Mother Courage and her children through the long wandering war.
Seana McKenna led a strong cast, with good support from her children (Carmen Grant in particular) the cook, Geraint Wynn Davies and the pastor (Ben Carlson). Strong, cynical and ever optimistic are words that describe Mother Courage and seem to describe Seana herself. Geraint is always larger than life, and so is the cook. And Ben Carlson is able to disappear into his characters; in this case the priest disappeared too.
A very interesting play, although certainly not cheerful. At least it moved quickly from one situation to the next, with the wagon a looming presence. I had worried about the wagon being like the Acadian cart in a play we saw at Canstage a number of years ago, where the cart seemed to move for ever. Mother Courage’s wagon was part of her survival strategy. not a burden to drag her down.